What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

decade old nightmare. Maggots that ate live kittens/bunnies?
September 2, 2010 1:57 am
Dear Man of Bugs,
First and foremost I apologize I have no photos, but this horrific season took place a good ten years ago, and photographic evidence would only serve to scar you the way I am now irrevocably scarred.
When I was younger, I lived in Kentucky. We had a rabbit farm. Come warm weather, all the rabbits had their precious babies and the barn cats had kittens. One day I went to look at these precious darling bunnies, these tiny miracles, and when I pulled back the fur in the nesting box… they were basically mutilated. I very clearly remember the writhing maggots (white) and the lesions on LIVING creatures. I found the same waking nightmare on the barn kittens. The common link was all the animals were too yong to be mobile, and seemed to have pus in their eyes/diarrhea, and seemed thin. I do not know if this is because the gates of hell unleashed meat eating maggots on them, or they got these parasites because they were ill. I am still very traumatized by this, partly because nobody here up north believes me or can relate. I spent the rest of that summer guarding my dog’s litter of puppies, keeping them dry, warm, clean, and healthy. I truly believe my anxiety disorder started w
ith these unspeakable terrors. I learned, Bug Man, that something that looks as harmless as a grain of rice can devour your flesh, and really quickly. Life suddenly wasn’t so carefree anymore. Kittens can literally be stripped of their hides and life doesn’t care. Chilling, for a twelve year old.
I know I wasn’t delusional (well, at least back then.) Did I manage to fall through a rip in time and space and I was actually IN hell, or do these things writhe the earth?
Thanks very much for your time.
Susan

Dear Susan,
Without a photograph, our response is purely speculative.  There is a family of Flies known as Bot Flies whose larvae are endoparasites on mammals, but your encounter was probably with the Maggots of Blow Flies.  Here is a National Geographic story on the benefits of treating wounds with maggots.  As your letter indicates, sickly newborn creatures might be infested with maggots and not survive the encounter.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

2 Responses to Worst Bug Story Ever Candidate: Maggots

  1. freakythings says:

    I was flipping through posts looking for my mystery bug (turns out it’s Soldier Fly larvae, I had no idea they lived in Alaska!) when I found this…and went, ‘well, fellow poster, yes, bot and blow flies most certainly do that!’ I don’t know if you’re around anymore, but yeah, as a young child, I was ALSO traumatized by flesh-eating fly larvae.

    In Oregon, this is a common summer problem, especially on dogs and rabbits (even guinea pigs!). I’ve seen even seemingly healthy rabbits die from bot fly maggots within a day, they are just that horrid. Fly eggs can be laid and the maggots hatch in a matter of hours, and it takes them far less than that to devour their way into your nightmares. I’m even afraid of worms because of them, you just don’t get over that kind of thing as a young kid.

    The really interesting thing about these flies is just how tenacious they are. You actually have to hand it to them for being one species that just does not quit. That said, as a rabbit raiser, I also did not quit. I’m so glad I live in a place now where the fly population is minimal, having to watch out for my animals on those hot days always worried me!

    • bugman says:

      We believe the culprits were either Blow Flies or Flesh Flies, but from what we have read about Bot Flies, you would not see external maggots. Thanks so much for providing this comment.

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